Monthly Archives: October 2013

Is It Custom Publishing or Social Media?

Corporate blogs, podcasts, forums – custom publishing or social media?  Well, probably both. One thing is for sure, technology is continuing to blur the line between marketing disciplines.

Caught Christopher Kenton’s Marketonomy blog today on Generating Leads with Social Media. Here are some important takeaways.

1. Every market is now a community.

“What you used to call a market, or a market segment, is now a networked customer community.  Attitudes are no longer driven by your carefully crafted message… The internet makes it easy for people to connect and share information, and they know there’s a lot more value in learning about products from others like themselves than from marketing
campaigns.”

2. Invoke behavior change through the use of content. Successful content communities are developed from listening to and researching your buyer base.

“…markets are increasingly driven by content, conversation and community. Instead of flooding the market with pick-up lines, you need to listen, engage and catalyze your customer community.  If you do it well, if you have something of real value and interest for your market community, they’ll spread your message for you.”

3. Engagement is crucial.

“…get engaged as an interested participant, not as a product shill.  As a useful analogy, think of your market as a dinner party. Imagine your attitude toward someone who butted into a conversation, talked about how great he was for a few minutes, and then walked away to barge into the next conversation. Unfortunately, that’s the impression many
marketers are making today as they trawl blogs, dropping self-serving comments and then disappearing. Communities are much more welcoming to people who have something interesting to say, are authentic, and take a genuine interest in the people around them.”

A key to your content marketing activities as it pertains to social media is to integrate valuable and relevant content into these communities. Yes, all these programs have underlying marketing objectives, but think of yourself first as an active member of the community with something important to say, not something to sell.

This is not easy. Historical custom publishing programs are completely controlled. That has always been one of the major benefits. Now, marketers are posting their content on the web and allowing customers and prospects to comment.  Yikes! Very scary. Today marketers are being thrown into actually constructing content together with their customers on forums, corporate blogs, or wiki sites.

At this point, I feel it’s okay to take it slow, but this is where we are headed and what buyers expect out of their brands. Cutting edge brands should be there now. All brands should be planning if they don’t have one in place. Your focus right now on gaining buyer intelligence and creating relevant, anti-sales content will make all the difference when you launch new community-building efforts.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe’s latest book, Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) will be released in the fall. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Why Most Custom Publications Aren’t Measured

I’ve been on hundreds of calls with marketers regarding the creation of a custom magazine or content-based Web site. In each of those cases, there was always someone in the organization who championed the effort. For whatever real reason (and there were many), this person thought a content marketing initiative was important for the business to consider.

At some point on each of these calls we came to measurement. Marketers would frequently ask how we could help them measure a custom magazine. To that, we began to dive into their marketing communications strategy. Frankly, what we learned was never pretty.

Rarely, if ever, did the marketing team have a solid idea of how the custom magazine fit into their overall marketing strategy. Strategically important questions, such as:

  • What do you want the reader to do?
  • What ultimate behavior are you looking to invoke from the custom publication after they read it?

These questions are very strategic in nature and would require a bit of thinking to figure them out. The messages that we construct as part of the custom publication would have to reflect that thinking.

Without a clear purpose to the custom publishing project, true measurement is virtually impossible. Without an understanding of where the custom publication fits within the overall marketing communications strategy, how would the business know it is working?  What was it working to do?

This always left us as custom publishers in a pickle. If we did our homework correctly, we wanted the business. But if we proceeded with the project without really extracting the purpose of the publication, we positioned ourselves as short-timers. Measurements then tend to be based upon an emotional connection to the publication, qualitative feedback from key customers or management, or price – none of which can be tied back to larger marketing objectives.

It’s almost laughable that the custom publication, which has been around since the dawn of time and formalized in the late 1800′s, is still a struggle to measure by both marketers and custom publishers.

The solution seems easy – define the purpose; define the objective. If you can define the purpose, you can most likely find a way to measure it. Unfortunately, it’s never that simple. Most marketers still have only a basic understanding of the content marketing process. Most custom publishers are more concerned with landing the job now and worry about the consequences later. Frankly, in today’s technological age, both are unacceptable.

To marketers – if you can’t determine the true purpose for your content project, don’t do it. To publishers – challenge your partners to determine that purpose. Get it on paper and put it in the Agreement that you both sign. It both saddens and amazes me about the number of custom projects that are out there that have NO measurement at all to them. The solution is evident, and both sides must take responsibility to make it happen. Now that’s what I call a partnership.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe’s latest book, Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) will be released in the fall. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Publishers Believe in Custom Publishing

Over the last week, I’ve talked to four business-to-business media executives, including two CEOs. I asked each of them the same question, “How easy or difficult would it be to add $1 million in revenue to a magazine brand over a year’s time?” Almost as if rehearsed, they all said the same thing: “Like pulling teeth…”

Driving revenues (beyond low single-digit percentages) is extremely difficult for publishers in today’s environment. Marketers continue to spend more and more time, resources, and budgets on their own content efforts. This is becoming crystal clear to publishers. Even with eMedia growing substantially, it’s challenging for media companies to add large chunks of revenue through eMedia products and services alone.

I believe publishers have accepted custom media, custom publishing, content marketing (whatever term you like) as one of the best, if not the best way, to grow revenues over the next three to five years. Successful ones will get on board…before it’s too late.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe’s latest book, Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) will be released in the fall. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Custom Publishing: Second-Rate Content?

At American Business Media’s Spring Meeting last week, I had a discussion with the CEO of a large business-to-business media company.  I specifically asked how his company was preparing, or dealing with, their own customers launching media efforts that could be considered competitive. I gave him an example of one of his 12x print advertisers launching a content web portal and a print magazine in their space covering the same industry topics.

Second-rate content

The answer not only surprised me, it floored me. He basically stated that in his experience with these types of corporate media, custom publishing initiatives were second-rate content at best. He also discussed how he is more than happy to partner with these companies to promote their white papers on his websites and other properties. Other than that, these custom media initiatives were nothing to be bothered with.

Now…this is one of the most progressive (I thought) CEOs in the business. If this is the general mentality among these business leaders, then marketers have a bigger opportunity than I initially thought.

To be fair, though, he’s probably right about the quality of the content.  He probably has only run into examples of content marketing samples that were only sub-par. Marketers have been waking up to this fact for years though, so this has been changing for quite a while.

Wake up now

If media companies don’t see content marketing as a significant threat to their long-term financial viability now, they are going to be in BIG trouble. Today’s publishers need to offer these types of marketing services for their customers, or face watching this large revenue stream go somewhere else.

All in all, I came away from this conference thinking that most publishers are dismissing the importance and impact of content marketing. It’s going to really get interesting.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe’s latest book, Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) will be released in the fall. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

9 Questions to Help You Prioritize Content Creation [Template]

Businessman at workContent marketing, what it’s for, and how it works, is becoming part of the business psyche. But, as this recent blog on how to survive the disillusionment of content marketing points out, one could argue that content marketers are almost becoming a victim of their own successes.

The biggest challenge in content creation

Previously, the biggest challenge was to create engaging content. Now the biggest challenge — at least, according to 29 percent of B2B marketers surveyed in recent CMI research — is simply creating enough content to satisfy business needs. There are certainly ways of addressing this challenge, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that more content creation is the same as better content creation. However, even if you take the “less is more” approach to content marketing, you’ll likely still be plagued with requests.

Here are some tips on how to say no to content creation requests, in order to keep the quality bar high.

Meeting the demand: urgent vs. important

Developing a content calendar that has the flexibility to include some unexpected activities that add value and are in keeping with the business goals and objectives is a smart way to set your content strategy in motion. But what happens when you receive desperate or last minute requests to create content that doesn’t fit in your content plan? What is the difference between important content and urgently needed content?

This old phrase comes to mind: “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

This is where you need to learn the art of saying no to content requests that simply don’t fit within your overall business objectives, that aren’t clear enough in their intention, or that are simply requested too late in your publication cycle for you to be able to do a good job with them. Here are some tricks you can use to minimize the false-urgent request — and optimize your processes to accommodate the truly urgent ones.

It’s essential for your organization to have a content marketing mission statement — and for everyone who submits requests to know what this is. For instance, CMI’s mission is to advance the practice of content marketing. If you receive content requests that do not support your mission, it may not be worth your effort and time.

Introducing the content request form

To help prioritize your content requests, consider developing a content request form that you share across all departments that might be asking you for content. Often requestors only have a vague idea of what their needs are when they ask for content to be created. The request form helps them drill down to their most essential needs — which will help you identify possible ways to incorporate them into your existing content plan, or to minimize the revision process so that you can free up time in your schedule to produce additional content. Moreover, the improved communication facilitated by the form helps you produce content that is more targeted, more appropriate, and better able to deliver the kind of results its requestor expects. Marketers also would be wise to use the form themselves, to help flesh out and prioritize their own ideas for content creation.

content-creation-request-form-matrix

It’s essential for your organization to have a content marketing mission statement — and for everyone who submits requests to know what this is. For instance, CMI’s mission is to advance the practice of content marketing. If you receive content requests that do not support your mission, it may not be worth your effort and time.

Keep your content request form short — one page at the most, if possible. Here are some questions you should include:

  • What is your idea/need?: Keep it brief, and give the content idea/need a catchy title as soon as possible. It’s likely that your content piece will be known by this name, moving forward — at least internally — regardless of what the final title actually is.
  • What research have you already done on this topic?: Ask requestors to list three sources of research they have already done. Doing this provides two main benefits: First, requestors may already have sources in mind that they would not otherwise have thought to share; and second, it reminds the requestor that the writing process involves research too, which makes for better content.
  • How long do you think it will take to produce?: Often, requestors misunderstand the process and the amount of work involved in creating content. Asking this question provides an opportunity to educate requestors, and starts the negotiation process so both sides can come to an agreement on the expected deadline.
  • How many leads do you expect this piece will produce?: This is particularly helpful for requests that come from sales. Not all content should be expected to generate leads — especially if it’s educational content that sits at the top of the funnel. But if your requestor does have an answer in mind, so much the better to set the right expectations.
  • How much will the content cost to produce?: When calculating the content’s production costs, make sure the requestor is including budget expectations for design and layout costs, as well as printing costs (if applicable) and the writer’s time.
  • Which core business objectives does this fit with?: While it’s great to have content that is fun, or interesting, or engaging, it should also align with business objectives — particularly if the content is being expected to meet key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Where does it fit within the sales funnel?: Content designed to be used at different stages of the sales funnel should be promoted in different ways. Moreover, the key messages and the level of product (or service) information will differ. It helps to know up front what purpose the content is meant to serve.
  • What will the impact be if it’s not produced?: What will happen if you cannot fulfill the request? Will the world end, will it critically affect a campaign, or will their boss just be unimpressed? This question helps establish whether a given request is for need-to-have content, or would simply be nice-to-have.
  • How will you commit to sharing this content with a wider audience?: A piece of content is only valuable if it is consumed and shared. This question lets requestors know that they will be encouraged to spread the word about the content across their own social networks — after all, hopefully they’ll be proud of the final piece and will want to share it, as well.

How to get the most value from the content creation form

  • Work with requestors when they fill out a form for the first time. Help them understand what is involved in creating the content, and identify where it should and can be used. For example, they may want to create a white paper when the content would actually be more appropriate for a blog. Explaining the whys and hows in advance not only helps educate your colleagues, but it also helps them understand the value of your expertise and role in the organization.
  • Use it as a reference doc. That way, everyone knows what to expect of the final content. It keeps you all on the same page, literally.

Prioritize, but don’t dismiss urgent requests — if they provide value

When it comes to “urgent” requests from other parts of the business that demand content resources, the key is to keep ego and emotion out of it. At the end of the day, content creation is a business function that should help get clear, trustworthy, and valuable messages out to customers and prospects. Don’t dismiss a request just because you’re having a tiff with that employee, or your business groups have differing objectives.

Sometimes there’s value in pulling a content rabbit out of a hat to meet an urgent need — not only does it make you a valuable content creation resource, it also builds cross-functional relationships. And, you never know, it might even result in that huge sale that keeps your content team in work — and in demand — for another year, while boosting your reputation: a win-win situation.

For more helpful tools to optimize your content creation processes, read CMI’s Content Marketing Playbook.

 

Author: Gina Balarin

Gina Balarin is a Content Manager at Concur. With more than 11 years’ experience writing for businesses and telling people’s stories through marketing, she is predominantly a lover of words. When she isn’t reading a book or sitting behind a keyboard touch-typing at 89wpm, you can find her in the green hills of Oxfordshire, England. Follow Gina on Twitter @GBalarin.

Content Marketing Checklist: 13 Things You Must Do Before You Publish Content

imagesWhat content creator hasn’t hit “submit” without taking that extra couple of minutes to check over what is about to publish? While it’s understandable (particularly when you are under the gun with a looming deadline), luck often dictates that the one time you don’t stop to give your piece the once-over will be the time it contains a glaring error.

To make sure your published content is always at its error-free best, keep this 13-point checklist on hand at all times. (And for tips on how to promote your content after you publish, check out Brody Dorland’s 12 Things to Do After You Write Your Blog Post.)

1. Align your content with specific sub-goals.
While your marketing efforts should all support your overall business objectives, each piece of content should meet specific sub-goals that flow into higher-level achievements. For example, if your business goal is to increase sales, your content marketing goal would be to create content to show how to style clothes or, more specifically, create a Pin board and a Tumblr to show how to combine women’s summer separates. Target’s Tumblr is a great example.

2. Target specific elements of your audience.
Each article or piece of content doesn’t need to apply to your entire market. But it does need to speak to a relevant segment of that audience, as described in your marketing persona andsocial media persona, depending on where your content will be distributed.

3. Optimize for one or two keyword search phrases.
Each article should be focused on a couple of keywords from your overall list to support its findability.

4. Link to additional content, both on and off of your site.
To further support your SEO goals, include links to other content you’ve created, such as product information (where applicable), as well as to relevant content and/or resources on third-party sites. Don’t forget to associate these links with specific keywords within your content.

5. Ensure your headline is as magnetic as possible.
Killer headlines do the heavy lifting for content, since many potential readers decide whether or not to read your content based on how well your headline draws them in from your site, newsletters, or social media. Where possible, incorporate one of your target keywords near the beginning of the title, since this will help your optimization efforts.

6. Integrate corporate branding.
Every piece of content you produce is an opportunity to extend the reach of your organization’s brand and reinforce your professional expertise. This will help your 360-degree brand shine through the various elements of your content, particularly in social media. In content marketing and social media, your brand is no longer just a logo. It’s how your brand looks, talks, and acts. A great example of this is Ford’s Facebook timeline photograph.

7. Communicate in a voice that’s consistent with your other content.
In today’s social media world, your content must speak in a human voice to a human audience. The objective is for your content to have a consistent voice regardless of who’s doing the writing.

8. Include an image (preferably a photograph).
Visual content does a great job of helping your content grab readers. If possible, use images that include human faces to maximize the impact, and avoid using bland stock photography. And don’t forget to check that the images you choose are copyright-cleared for commercial use. (Note: Flickr allows you to sort on this dimension.)

9. Format content to facilitate readability.
Make content easy to read and scan so your target audience can consume it on the go via any device (think smartphones or other devices, such as tablets). This means using bullet points and bolding to help guide the reader. Also, keep your content left-aligned.

10. Skip the foul language.
No one wants to listen to a potty mouth. So unless your brand identity includes using adult language (such as Redhead Writing), eliminate the profanity. Instead craft content that grabs readers’ attention. If you can’t find the right words, consider another form of content, like photographs.

11. Review your copy for grammatical and spelling mistakes.
While many word processors have spell checkers, they don’t catch everything — such as when you made the wrong choice of whether to use “they’re,” “there” or “their.” To this end, it’s useful to have a copy editor to check your content and ensure that it’s consistent with grammar and style rules for whatever content outlet you are using.

12. Incorporate a call to action.
Each piece of content should encourage readers to take a specific action — such as visiting your site, subscribing to your newsletter, etc. Assess whether your article explicitly directs consumers to take the next step.

13. Engage readers.
This is particularly important when you want to encourage readers to comment on your content. To expand the conversation, include a question for readers to address and social sharing buttons to make it easy for them to do so. Remember, the goal isn’t to stump your readers but rather to get others involved in your content-related conversation — even if only a small percentage of your audience is likely to respond.

When it comes to content creation in today’s connected social media world, writing requires more than great, compelling content. It needs that extra attention to details.

What other tips would you recommend to other content creators to increase the effectiveness of their writing process and why?

BTW, if you haven’t signed up for Content Marketing World yet, please consider joining me at my Content Marketing 101 Workshop, which will help you get your 2013 content marketing plans on track.

 

Author: Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen is an actionable marketing expert. As president of Riverside Marketing Strategies, Heidi works with online media companies and e-tailers to increase profitability with innovative marketing programs based on solid analytics. During the course of 20 years, Heidi has obtained deep experience in direct and digital marketing across a broad array of products including soft goods, financial services, entertainment, media entities and crafts-oriented goods. Heidi shares her actionable marketing insights on her blog. Find Heidi Cohen online at Twitter @heidicohenLinkedIn and Facebook.

7 NEW Things to Do After You’ve Written a New Blog Post

a new blog post, CMIIt looks like a few people found some value in my post from last year, “12 Things to Do After You’ve Written a New Blog Post.” Well, one or two new things have been launched on the “interwebs” since March of 2011, so I thought it might be time for an update. And hey, I thought I’d throw a printable (and PIN-able) infographic version of the original post into the mix while I’m at it.

Blog syndication

My previous post talked about establishing RSS connections with various social media sites so that your blog content automatically posts to your profiles. Some of that still holds true. I’m not really a fan of auto-posting to Twitter or Facebook, but there are a few automatic connections that I do recommend. One is for your personal LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t yet plugged your blog feed into your profile, watch this video and get it done. Forward this to your coworkers as well — everyone in your company should be syndicating your blog content on their LinkedIn profiles via the WordPress or BlogLink applications.

Click on image for a full-size view.

1. RSS-to-Email: One of the new (but not really new) things I wanted to mention was RSS-to-Email syndication. Depending on your email marketing or RSS management platform, you may now have the ability to set up RSS-to-Email campaigns for your blog content. If you’re using Mailchimp (my fave), there’s an easy process for setting this up. Create a new blog subscriber list so you’re not spamming your current list, configure a mobile-friendly email template, and create your campaign to send automatically when you launch a new blog post. Add the subscription form to your blog so you can continue to build your subscriber list.

2. Google Currents: Currents is Google’s answer to the popular iPad app, Flipboard. It’s all about media consumption on any type of mobile device, and Currents makes it simple to create your own real-time digital magazine by syndicating any content feeds that you connect. You can go to theGoogle Currents page, name your edition, and plug in your RSS feed, your YouTube channel, your Fickr stream, your Google+ updates, and a host of other accounts. You can then customize your look with brand elements and color schemes. It took me all of 15 minutes to get “The Divvy Daily” up and running.

Much like Google+, the future adoption and consumption of Currents is still unknown. But tablets are a big part of our future, so you might want to get on this train now.

Status updates: Social sites you need to consider

3. Google+: Google continues to build upon its new social network, and it’s hard to deny the SEO value of sharing your content via this platform. One unique point about Google+ is that there are no character limitations, so you are free to include a lot more content within your status updates than you can on platforms such as Twitter. I’d recommend that you create thoughtful, engaging, keyword-optimized teasers with links back to your blog or website.

4. Pinterest: By now, there’s no need for me to add to the 5,000 other “how to use Pinterest” articles out there that were likely posted in the last few days. If you have developed an original graphic or photo for your content, pin it for some extra link juice!

5. Twitter: We’ll assume you’re already posting to Twitter, but I’d like to take this further and remind you to think about using specific hashtags that relate to the topic(s) covered in your blog post. Adding a hashtag to a blog post is a great way to extend the reach of your content beyond your followers. A good chunk of the Twitterati follows and monitors certain hashtags that they care about, so a post that shows up in that hashtag stream has a good chance of being seen and retweeted. For example, when you add #cmi to a tweet, your post is probably going to get viewed by a few hundred more eyeballs than it would otherwise, due to the number of people that are monitoring the Content Marketing Institute Twitter stream.

You probably already know the popular hashtags related to your industry, products/services, or subject matter, but if you don’t, you can head over to http://hashtags.org/ and do some searching to find out which hashtags are the most popular.

Social bookmarking

6. Bookmarking with Reddit: In my previous post, I talked about how social bookmarking has been on the decline for some time, but the bookmarking site, Reddit, is not messing around these days. The recent story of Caine’s Arcade that blew up all over the world was largely due to the power and reach of the Reddit community.

But, you can’t just show up on Reddit and expect to get any love. I’d recommend finding established users in your network and asking them to bookmark/promote your content. Be careful not to overstay your welcome though, and your “stuff” better be good.

Seek and assist

7. Twitter tips: I’m anxiously awaiting the release of a new service (in private beta at the moment) called NeedTagger, which scans your content and finds people on Twitter discussing the needs that your content can meet, right now. Using its Engagement panel, you review the incoming tweets/comments and meet users’ needs by sharing helpful content. In return, they click on your shared links, driving high quality traffic to your website. NeedTagger tracks the clicks and shares that you generate for each link you share, so you can measure how well your content and messaging perform in social media. Yeah, giddyup.

Just do it

I’ll offer the same words of advice that I gave in my original post: The first time is the hardest. Setting up accounts and getting to know the interface and functions of the various social sites and applications may make your brain hurt. But it will get easier. I usually dedicate an hour to blog post promotion after each launch.

And finally, all this new stuff can be tracked, including Google Currents, which plugs in directly to your existing Google Analytics account.

Your turn: What did I miss? What else are you doing to promote your content?

Want more content marketing inspiration? Download our ultimate eBook with 100 content marketing examples.

 

Author: Brody Dorland

Brody is an online marketing consultantbloggerpodcaster, and co-creator ofDivvyHQ, a cloud-based editorial calendar application that helps you manage your content, ideas, editorial teams and production schedules all in one place. Follow Brody on Twitter @brodydorland.

Content Marketing Playbook 2011 – 42 Ways to Connect with Customers [free eBook]

After months of work, the Content Marketing Playbook is finished. A big thanks to Jonathan Kranz, who worked with me to put this together, and our sponsors PR Newswire and Eloquafor making this possible.

What is the Content Marketing Playbook?

Content Marketing PlaybookThis year’s Playbook consists of 42 different content marketing tactics, all ranked in popularity by the CMI community.  The top 10 include:

  1. Blog
  2. Enewsletter
  3. White Paper
  4. Article
  5. eBook
  6. Case Study
  7. Testimonials
  8. Microblogging (i.e., Twitter)
  9. Webinar/Webcast
  10. Video

New for 2011

This year’s Playbook includes five brand new tactics added from the community, including:
  1. Infographics
  2. Online Survey Research Project
  3. Discussion Forum
  4. iPad Application
  5. Multimedia Content Platform

How about Case Studies?

In addition to the 42 tactics, we’ve included over 50 different case study examples to help point you in the right direction, with links to the sample projects, from the likes of IBM, Kelly Services, OpenView Venture Partners, DeLoitte and more (as well as our own from the Content Marketing Institute).

 

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe’s latest book, Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) will be released in the fall. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

58 Social Media Ideas to Inspire Your Content Marketing [eBook]

58 Social Media Tips for Content MarketingContent is nothing without the right distribution channels, which is why content marketing and social media make a great team. Think Laurel and Hardy. Woodward and Bernstein. Jordan and Pippen.

But how exactly do you use social media to your best advantage when creating your content marketing strategy? Which channels should you be using — and which do other marketers use? And what is the best way to use each channel? 

Our new eBook, 58 Social Media Tips for Content Marketing, offers suggestions on how to use the most popular social media channels as well as insights into what other marketers are using.

Here are just a few of the insights you will find in the eBook:

Tips for smarter content distribution through social media: Considering adding a channel to your social media repertoire, or just hoping to improve your chops on your existing channels? Either way, we’ve compiled tons of tips to help you move your social media strategy in the right direction.

Snapshots of brands that are using social media to its full advantage: 58 Social Media Tips for Content Marketing includes examples of how big brands have been using major social media channels successfully. We take a look at campaigns from companies like Allstate, Dell, GE, Salesforce, Starbucks, Mint.com, and Red Bull to demonstrate best practices for leveraging social media in your content marketing efforts.

Current marketer adoption rates for the most popular social networks: CMI recently published our annual content marketing research that shows which channels they are using most often. The results covered 14 different social media channels, including the “big 4″ as well as everything from Tumblr to SlideShare to Instagram. Throughout the course of the eBook, you’ll find call-outs with the results of that survey split into B2B and B2C designations.

Read 58 Social Media Tips for Content Marketing to improve your sharing strategies and drive higher engagement rates for your eBooks, blog posts, videos, workbooks, and presentations.

Like this eBook? Share it with your friends through your preferred social media channels. And if you are looking for more tips on using social media for content marketing, please let us know by posting a question in the comments.

 

Author: Michele Linn

Michele is the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Instituteand a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B Marketing.

Creating Valuable Content: An Essential Checklist

“Every day, there is more and more to manage and get right and learn.”

Who said that?  It’s definitely someone in content marketing, web strategy or digital communications, right? Don’t we all feel that way? Every day our jobs are getting ahead of us, instead of us getting ahead of our jobs.

It may surprise you that the above quote is from Atul Gawande, MD, who wrote a supremely useful and convincing book called The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right.Gawande is a general surgeon who suggests that applying simple checklists to both complicated and routine medical procedures can affect overall success rates and reduce infection and mortality.

What does this have to do with content marketing? A lot. As I always say, “Great content strategy is about taking the guesswork out of execution, so creativity about content can flourish.” To help get all of the execution details straight, I’ve developed the Creating Valuable Content Checklist.

UPDATE: You can now download the Creating Valuable Content Checklist in German.

An overview of valuable content

The checklist is designed for digital content creators and marketing teams, and it defines valuable content using five benchmarks:

  • Findable
  • Readable
  • Understandable
  • Actionable
  • Shareable

Hat tip to Colleen Jones who inspired some of thesebenchmarks.

Today I’m going to share some quick tips on how to use the checklist, and then I’ll break down each of the elements tomorrow.

Download the Creating Valuable Content Checklist™  [PDF].

Get the decision makers in the same room

Before you start using this checklist, it’s important to understand how to use it. The first thing is to get the right people involved.

One of the most persuasive stories Gawande tells is about how some of the most run-down hospitals in Detroit instituted a checklist for inserting a central line. Hospitals use central lines, which are injection ports, to minimize the number of needle sticks. However, these lines can often become infected.

To reduce the probability of infection, a doctor named Provonost created a central line checklist and persuaded some hospitals in Detroit to participate in a study to see if the checklist was effective. Each hospital that participated in this project assigned a senior project manager as well as an executive “who would visit at least once a month, hear the staff’s complaints, and help them solve problems.”

Why did the executive need to be involved in something considered tactical? Some of the staff’s issues were things that only the executives could solve, such as supplying the right kind of antiseptic soap and proper size drapes. By capturing the attention and action of the executives, these hospitals in Detroit brought down central line infections by 66%.

In content marketing, your executives may be the people who can effect change in your resources or who can influence your company’s policy towards things like social media or the overall “voice” of your brand. By educating your key executive about the content marketing challenges facing your team and proposing solutions, you have a real opportunity to make a difference. Maybe you can increase traffic to your site by 66%. The point is, that by methodically moving down the basic details you need to attend to with every project with your decision makers, you may be able to solve problems more easily than you realized.

Share the checklist with your team

Over the years I’ve developed my own internal checklist of what needs to happen to keep the user interested in what I was writing. But I’ve also known that I control only part of the process. Visual design, information architecture and usability combine to create user experience and are key in keeping users on pages. To implement the checklist properly, you need to get all the members of the digital strategy team working through the checklist together and make changes as needed. They may even have their own checklists, so combine them for maximized effectiveness.

I hope you will print it out and use it often.

Want to learn more? Check out the next post in which I look at each of these benchmarks in more detail so you understand specifically what each point means and what you can do to make your content more valuable.

Download the Creating Valuable Content Checklist™ [PDF]

Please consider leaving a comment about the checklist—do you think there are things you would add for your organization? Do you use something similar?  If so, does it work as effectively as promised above?

 

Author: Ahava Leibtag

Based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Ahava Leibtag is a Web content strategist and writer. She leads AHA Media Group, a Web and content consulting firm, and authors the blog Online it ALL Matters. She thinks 60 words is way too few to communicate why she’s interesting. You can connect with Ahava on Twitter at @ahaval.